During my working life the saddest thing that I have observed in society’s breakdown has been the dramatic increase in litigation where it seems that every day we hear of yet another case where someone or some organisation is being sued for negligence. This has been particularly noticeable since the collapse of HIH where many professionals are ceasing to practice because of the financial burden of professional indemnity insurance.

Although tax agents are professionals and we do charge for assisting in the preparation of tax returns it bears remembering that at the end of the day the tax return is actually signed as correct by the taxpayer and it is the taxpayer who has a clear obligation to ensure that the return is correct. They are the ones who are responsible to the Tax Office for getting it right. Thankfully this has resulted in a limited number of tax agents being sued for negligence.

Tax agents occasionally make errors, and when they are really big errors they can be sued for negligence, but I have not yet met any really good mind readers among my colleagues, and I am certainly not one. What goes in to a tax return is what we are told. The taxpayer cops the rap over the knuckles if the information is wrong.

When you are assembling your tax data for the next tax return, don’t leave anything out…income or expenditure… and get some professional help to ensure that you don’t break the law or miss out on claiming all your entitlements.